By Sara Deakin, Practice Development Matron for Older People and Dementia.
Carers week begins today. At NUH we recognise the vitally important role carers play. We support carers every day to ensure we are 'carer friendly'.
Before I highlight some of the ways we do this I’d like to share a personal experience of caring.
Recently my dad had a fall at home. He spent two weeks in an acute hospital followed by two weeks in a rehabilitation bed before he was finally discharged home.
As a nurse I had inside knowledge of the system. As a daughter of a very poorly older man I was just as anxious and vulnerable as so many other carers. I acted as translator of medical terminology to my siblings but more importantly I was an advocate and a voice for my dad when he was at his most vulnerable. I just wanted the best for my dad but at times I felt like the nuisance relative, interfering, asking too many questions and in the way.
This experience showed me how difficult it can be for carers and family. As health care professionals we should never underestimate the impact we have on the experience of carers. We need to welcome carers, treat them with respect, give them information and involve them in decisions. We all want the best for the patients in our care and by working with carers we are much better placed to achieve this.
Here at NUH we have a section in the ‘About Me’ booklet for carers to complete. The booklet was developed to help staff get to know the patient and the carer better. We use this as a means to involve carers and make them feel valued and supported. This gives carers an opportunity to identify if and how they would like to support their relative or friend when they are in hospital.
We have a dedicated webpage for carers to outline some of the ways in which we support carers and make NUH a carer friendly community, such as our carer’s passport. If you’re a carer then please have a read to make sure you are aware of all the support you’re entitled to.
Throughout carers week we will be recognising and celebrating carers. each day this blog will highlight the various ways in which we support carers. read more about how we are celebrating carers this week here.